Minamata: A Requiem
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Minamata: A Requiem

A music theatre inspired by one of the most powerful photographs of the 20th century


The concept for Minamata: A Requiem was inspired by a single photograph: one that was taken in 1971 in a fishing village near Minamata Bay, Japan by the American photojournalist W. Eugene Smith. It is an image of a very private moment – a mother tenderly holding her young, severely handicapped daughter in a traditional family bath. The child, Tomoko Uemura, was one of thousands of victims of industrial mercury poisoning that affected towns and fishing villages in the Minamata area for decades. The deformed body of the child, held in the embrace of her mother and of the water, is startling and tragic; yet the compassionate, loving gaze of the mother and the beauty of the child’s eyes give the image a dignity and humanity that has made Tomoko and Her Mother in the Bath one of the most iconic images of the 20th century*. Tomoko was called ‘our treasure child’ by her family: they believed that by absorbing the mercury poisoning in her mother’s body when she was a fetus, Tomoko made it possible for her younger brothers and sisters to be born healthy. Smith’s photograph is an indictment of the impact of human greed, ignorance and profitability on the environment, on the innocent, and ultimately, on ourselves. Yet in its compassion, it is also a subtle message of hope, pointing to a possible way forward.


* The photograph, Tomoko Uemura in Her Bath, is withdrawn from print circulation by Aileen Smith, done at the express request of Tomoko’s family, 20 years after her death at the age of 21.



Creative Team
Composer and Music Director: Kung Chi Shing
Installation Design and Visuals: Kingsley Ng
Scenarist & Dramaturge: Valerie C. Doran


Performers: Makoto Matsushima (Japan), Maki Morisita (Japan), Franky Mcnugget (HK), Peter Suart (UK), Chiara Kung (USA)


Musicians: Kung Chi Shing (HK), Hahn Rowe (USA), Mike Yuen (HK), Julia Mok (HK), Leung Yan Chiu (HK), Shadow Kim (HK), Les Fong (HK), Chan Wai Hong (Percussion)


Lyricists: Chow Yiu Fai, Valerie C. Doran

Lighting Designer: Gabriel Fung

Interactive Media Design: Carla Chan


Production Team
Producer: Ribble Chung
PM & DSM: Cheung Heung Ming
Video Operator: Jason Wong
Audio Equipment: Miso
Assistant to Music Director: Julia Mok
Assistant Producer and Ticketing: Iris Heung
Stage Crew: Lau Hon Wah, Lam Yan Kin


Special thanks to Dr. K.H. Fung for computed tomography scan images


LCSD – Boundless Multi-Media Series – A Music Theatre Work

Multi-Media Theatre, HKICC Lee Shau Kee School of Creativity, Hong Kong